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France holds breath ahead of feared riots

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France holds breath ahead of feared riots


Authorities in France appealed for calm ahead of what they fear could be a repeat of last night’s violence in a suburb of Paris.

Some 40 police officers and firefighters were injured in riots last night after the deaths of two teenagers in a crash with a police car in Villiers-le-Bel.

Prosecutor Marie-Therese de Givry said the inquiry by the body that investigate the police would enable them to establish the exact circumstances of the accident.

Police said the youths, who were 15 and 16, were not wearing helmets, were speeding and failed to give way to the car at a junction.

Witnesses on the estate blamed the police for the accident and accused the officers of not staying to help the teenagers.

One man said: “They saw that the youths were in pain but the police didn’t help. They saw that his foot was cut but they didn’t help. The police tried to leave by starting their car but the car was damaged so they ran away.

“There was a woman, we don’t know where she lives, she went down to help them as she is a nurse. She gave them first aid. When the others arrived the woman said ‘it’s over, they’re dead’.”

The case draws parallels with the riots almost exactly two years ago that followed the deaths of two youths electrocuted in a Paris power substation while hiding from police.

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